How to do (modern) black tie

Top: £21, Boden. Skirt: £110, Needle & Thread (buy a similar, shorter one from Asos here). Mules: £15.99, New Look. Photographs: Christopher O’Donnell
Last week my husband and I had a wonderful evening at Glyndebourne: it was our first time ever at the opera but not only that: it was a black tie dress code (emoji: shock horror).
Actually, that’s a bit of a lie –  it’s not technically compulsory black tie. But everyone does, and it’s quite a wonderful tradition, jumping on the bus from Lewes in tuxedos and ball gowns with our hampers and picnic blankets. How incredibly British. And it didn’t rain!
We watched The Barber of Seville, which was witty, funny and brilliant – I never knew opera could be comedic (and there were surprisingly some subtitles, which helped with the whole thing). And dinner is eaten in the hour and a half long interval in the open air (or under cover is the weather isn’t up to it). I used the opportunity to try a black tie outfit my way – I haven’t worn black tie for years and frankly, it’s just not my thing. So when I saw this tulle skirt from Needle & thread, I knew that was the way to do it.



The stripe top was a bit of a no brainer for me, and I didn’t feel underdressed at all. The gold spot on the breton adds just enough bling and evening feel to a classic top, and I’m pretty sure I’ll get more wear out of it in the years to come.

Sunglasses: £28 in the sale, Le Specs at Very Exclusive.  Top: £21, Boden. Skirt: £110, Needle & Thread (buy a similar, shorter one from Asos here). Clutch: £20, Elizabeth ScarlettMules: £15.99, New Look
Exhibition on Raqib Shaw at White Cube, Glyndebourne
Clutch: £20, Elizabeth Scarlett.Bracelets: black, £90, Astley Clarkegold: £95, Astley Clarke

I’m pretty sure this clutch bag I’m using is a washbag (in fact, I know it is) but it fits loads in, is my favourite colour (navy) and covered in pineapples. I’m obsessed. Oh, and it’s £20.

And can we talk about flats with ballgowns? I love the idea of feeling and looking comfortable in a dressy outfit, and flats are the only way I ever look comfortable. There’s something quite nonchalant about dressing down a full length look, and mules are so perfect (and on trend).


Thank you for having us, Glyndebourne! Definitely a ‘bucket-list’ moment for me. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who loves the theatre, and especially if you haven’t been to the opera before – tickets start at £10 and you can get train tickets to Lewes quite cheaply if you book in advance and take your own picnic. And the chance to dress up in your finest? It’s an opportunity not to be missed.
Meanwhile, shop my edit of ‘fancy flats’ below (I bought the pom pom version!):
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  1. Ooh this is a super exciting post for me as I'm going to Glyndebourne for the first time in a couple of weeks -seeing The Marriage of Figaro and can't wait! I have a floral black maxi to wear but love your twist on the style. btw am quite a new visitor to your blog and absolutely loving it -am already planning on checking out Topshop's blue nailpolishes based on your latest post!

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